This Bible Study is part of the "The Gospel of Matthew" series. See other Bible Studies which are part of this series
"Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. [Apparently, they were saying, "Oh, look at this and look at that." But, of course, Jesus knew all about it. You know how people are. They sometimes point out the obvious.] And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'"
Greetings, friends around the world!
This is Roderick C. Meredith, bringing you this commentary on the book of Matthew. We have been going through the entire book of Matthew verse by verse or almost every verse in the past 25 programs. We have now come to Matthew 24, one of the most powerful—and most complete, orderly, helpful, basic and fundamental—prophecies in the entire Bible. Jesus Christ gave this prophecy speaking from the Mount of Olives, so it is called the Olivet Prophecy. There is a version of it in Mark 13 and in Luke 21, but Matthew gives the most complete and the most orderly structured version. So notice this prophecy of Jesus Christ, and follow me in your Bibles. Check up on me. Again, I challenge you: prove these things. Be sure that you know what Jesus really taught!
"Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. [Apparently they were saying, "Oh, look at this and look at that." But, of course, Jesus knew all about it. You know how people are. They sometimes point out the obvious.] And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'"
Of course, He knew—He and the great God had planned this out in advance. In 70 AD that temple was virtually destroyed. And it will be utterly, totally destroyed before Christ comes the second time. But in 70 AD, all but a few walls and parts of it were destroyed. In 70 AD, the invasion of the Roman armies was a type—only a type—of the time of the end. Some scholars try to say that 70 AD was the whole thing—but that is RIDICULOUS! That is NOT true at all. It was a type. God has prophecies that are dual; you have an earlier type and then a much bigger fulfillment later on. So it is with this prophecy. The terrible destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD was a type—a very small type, of what is going to happen to the peoples of Israel. And I don't just mean the Jewish people calling itself Israel; I mean the entire peoples of the British-speaking nations of the world. The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples of America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, along with the Jewish people, are going to be punished in a few years in what is called the Great Tribulation. We in those nations are the descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Jesus talked about this coming destruction. He said…
"And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives [which is a big hill, not a mountain as we think of it in America. It is a big hill east of Jerusalem. In fact, I have climbed up—not just driven up—once or twice. It is kind of fun when you do it yourself on foot.], the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming [His Second Coming; remember that He did not come in 70 AD at all.], and of the end of the age?' [70 AD was NOT the end of the age by any stretch of the imagination! What happened there was only a small type of the time of the end.] And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you.'"
That is the first thing you had better do. Be sure that you are not fooled because the vast majority of humans are going to be fooled. God tells us throughout the entire New Testament that people are deceived in the world. We read in Revelation 12:9: "So the great dragon was cast out [here at the time of the end], that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world." That is who the Devil deceives— the whole world! Do you believe this? Well, that is what God said time after time in the New Testament. He speaks about the god of this age who has deceived human beings, blinded their eyes. The "god" of this age—not the true God, but Satan the Devil whom God has allowed to deceive human beings. Most people are deceived. You may say, "Well, I am not deceived." But frankly, does a deceived person know he is deceived? If people knew they were deceived, they would not be deceived, would they? Think about it—and be willing to open your mind and heart—and perhaps you can become un-deceived if you really try to understand this book and ask God to give you understanding. The first thing is to open your mind and study the Bible—prove all things and hold fast that which is good.
"Take heed that no one deceives you."
Maybe your preacher has deceived you. Maybe the religion you grew up in and took for granted, whatever kind of religion it was, was a wrong religion and you are sincere. Your parents may have been sincere but just did not understand. People just become deceived, and they go the wrong way.
"For many will come in My name [He did not say that they would come in the name of George Jones or John Smith. Jesus said that "They will come in My name"—His name, Jesus' name.], saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."
He did not say "a few." They will deceive many. It is always the many who will be deceived. "The whole world is to be deceived," God said again and again. We must learn to believe what God says.
"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled…"
So, now He begins to list a number of things. They said, "Show us what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age." Christ said, "First of all, false preachers are going to come along using My name." They will come in the name of Christ. So-called "Christian" preachers will come, using Jesus' name and deceiving many. Then you will have wars—kingdom against kingdom, He says, after nation against nation—the latter is a different Greek word meaning alliances of nations. After deception, you will have wars then world wars. We are in the era of world wars today.
Then there will be famines—lack of food—not in just some backward country but, all over the world. This will occur particularly among Israel, and those who are Israel and who do not even know it—such as the American and British-descended peoples. These people are going to have famines fall on them in a way that we have never experienced before. Lack of food will come to America, Canada, Britain, and Australia—the "breadbasket" of the world. Pestilences will come next—disease epidemics. They will come here! Not just the Ebola virus off in Africa, or off in Asia somewhere else. It is going to be right here! Think about it—and watch your newspapers!
Earthquakes will increase. Down in El Salvador, we recently had one of the greatest earthquakes in modern history—leaving over 700 people killed, thousands homeless and many others disappeared and unaccounted for. The true death toll will probably never be known. It happened so suddenly. Suddenly the mountain began to descend upon them in one city, and buildings were damaged and people were killed. Their whole life changed in a period of minutes. This is what is going to happen. Earthquakes in various places—don't think it will always be somewhere else. The biggest earthquake in American history occurred in New Madrid, Missouri—down in southeastern Missouri of all places. The biggest recorded earthquake in American history occurred there. Earthquakes are going to occur. You watch! Jesus said so.
"All these are the beginning of sorrows. [They are not the end. These things are gradually going to build up.] Then they will deliver you ["you" means Jesus' faithful followers] Then they will deliver you [faithful people] up to tribulation [There is going to be a Great Tribulation coming on God's church and on God's people Israel as well.] and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake."
They have to know who we are before they can hate us. God's true Church and Work is so small that they don't hate us now because they don't know us. Some might say, "This prophecy applies to someone else, and you are talking out of turn Mr. Meredith." No! They are not hating the Catholic church. They are not hating the Baptists or the Methodists or these other churches—you know that. Somewhere on earth is the true Church of God that will do a Work so powerful that eventually it will be hated for talking about the coming Kingdom of God which will crush all the other Kingdoms of this earth and establish Christ's rule. People won't like to hear that. They won't like to be told their sins and how they rebelled against God's Law. They will hate God's true people and kill many of them. Some of us ministers may be killed and martyred or thrown in jail. Revelation 3:10-12, and Revelation 12, show that there will be a place of safety where most of God's very zealous people will be taken. But many will be killed in the meantime, and this worldwide Work will be hated by all the nations, and then the end will come.
"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. [Even many of God's people will turn on one another.] Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many."
At the time of the end, there will probably be charismatic people claiming to speak in tongues or just babbling gibberish. There are going to be false miracles. The great false church is going to rise up, and one great false prophet will even bring down fire from heaven. All of this is going to happen—and you will have to know the Bible and know that you know where God is working and what God really says, or you will be deceived by these false preachers. That is why you need to study and feed on the Bible—and pray to God to really understand. I hope you will.
"And because lawlessness will abound…"
Is He talking about the traffic laws? No, they didn't have traffic laws. They just had oxen and sheep and goats and donkeys and such back then. He is talking about the Law of God. People are breaking the Ten Commandments. People are living together—over six million of them in the United States-in fornication! People engage in all kinds of sin all over this nation. They are killing unborn children; 25 or 30 million have been butchered in the last several years. We talk about the Holocaust that happened to the Jews, but what are we doing to our children who are maybe six inches from being born? Doctors pull them out and crush their skulls. What a wonderful society in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" as we call ourselves! Who is kidding whom?
"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end [the end of this age] shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom ["Kingdom" means government; this is the good news of the coming government of God. Christ is coming as King of kings—thank God!] will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, [That was not done back in Apostolic times; they did not go to the Chinese and so many other nations.] and then the end [of this age] will come. [Everything will be changed.] Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" [in some kind of temple or altar, on the Temple Mount or at least somewhere in Jerusalem.] (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." [You don't come down out of your house and get ready, just go when God says "go."]
Think about this. There is going to be an abomination of desolation, which is a whole separate subject. But if you turn quickly to Daniel 11:31, you can see that he is talking about the coming type of "Hitler"—the coming final emperor over a European Empire—a revived Roman Empire.
"And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation."
They are going to place a terrible abomination. That happened before the time of Chris,t under Antiochus Euphonies, a terrible Syrian despot, who put idols of Zeus or Jupiter Olympus right in the temple of God, sacrificed swine flesh and made them do horrible things. He was a type of this final despot.
"Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."
"The people who know their God"—that had better be us. I hope it includes all of you. Think about it. Pray about it. We must be the people of God to expect God's protection and guidance and deliverance in the terrible times we are now entering.
This abomination of desolation is something to watch in your newspapers. Watch it in the television news, where you can see these things beginning to happen. First false prophets increase, then wars, world wars, lack of food—even in civilized areas and in our areas—lack of food, famines, then diseases, then earthquakes. Then God's true people, His true Church which obeys Him, is finally persecuted terribly for warning the world.
He says to watch for the abomination of desolation.
"And pray that your flight [God's true people will flee to a place of safety. They will be taken by God.] may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. [They knew what Sabbath He was talking about. Not the day of the sun, but God's true Sabbath.] For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened [the time of this tribulation], no flesh would be saved [In other words, man would simply blast himself off this planet. Man never had the capacity to blow human life off this planet until the last twenty or thirty years. Now we can. We are in that generation.]; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."
God will intervene in mercy and will shorten the time of this coming Tribulation. The coming beast power is going to rise up in Europe—a final revival of the so-called "Holy" Roman Empire—and they are going to attack the Israelitish peoples—the Americans and British-descended peoples—of the world. That beast power is rising now and you need to watch. To understand that, we have here a booklet, What's Ahead for America and Britain? It tells you a lot about what is ahead in your future. This is your future laid right out in a way that you can understand. So be sure to contact us to get this booklet. Just click the "order free" button on our Web site and request this booklet, What's Ahead for America and Britain? It will be sent absolutely FREE upon request. It really will open up Bible prophecy to you and will show you the key to understanding all Bible prophecy. So be sure to contact us and ask for this booklet.
Remember, we are entering a time when, unless God shortens those days, all flesh would be destroyed. So let's get close to God—let's fear God and walk with our God, and pray for understanding.
We will stop here, and finish this chapter in the next program. This is Roderick C. Meredith, speaking for the Living Church of God.